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Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the gotta-farm-those-tps-reports dept.

Businesses 68

destinyland writes "A Stanford professor argues that gaming worlds can keep workers engaged, and advocates elements of World of Warcraft or Second Life to hone workplace skills like teamwork, leadership, and data analysis. An IBM report also argues games like World of Warcraft teach leadership and that 'there is no reason to think the same cannot be done in corporate settings of various sizes.' The professor even suggests putting online gaming experiences into your resume. ('There's just so much that gets done [in a virtual world] that's just right on target with what happens in real business.') And Google's CEO also claims that multiplayer gaming also provides good career training, especially for technology careers. 'Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game. If I were 15 years old, that's what I would be doing right now... It teaches players to build a network, to use interactive skills and thinking.'"

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30789342)

a winrar is u!

Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789350)

Leadership skills? Planning? Cooperation? Have them play D&D. (That's partly a serious comment, actually.)

Re:Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? (2, Insightful)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789460)

As long as they can get a good DM, wholehearted agreement. Much more engaging than most MMOs, if done right.

Re:Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? (1, Flamebait)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789666)

The business card would be cool: 'Corporate Dungeon Master.' Probably harder to explain than Systems Administrator.

Re:Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? (2, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789684)

I would be realy hesitant to apply for work with a company sporting a "corporate dungeon master"... Sounds like being 5 minutes late for work means it's the thumbscrews for you. And "downsizing" might mean exactly what it says...

Re:Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? (2, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791066)

Yes, but the "soul-sucking" part of your job is done by a succubus ;).

Re:Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818492)

And by succubus you mean the office whore right? ;)

Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (3, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789778)

The same was said about sports. "Leadership... teamwork... initiative... coordination... motivation... blah... blah... etc." And they were right. Up to a point. What I'd like to see commissioned is a study comparing the two: who makes for a better Future Corporate Asshole, the quarterback of the high school football team, or the high school WoW guild leader?

The element of a virtual world that I'd like to see in my RL workspace is a large rail gun out of Eve Online that I could use to convince clients to pay on time...

Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (2, Funny)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789930)

The element of a virtual world that I'd like to see in my RL workspace is a large rail gun out of Eve Online that I could use to convince clients to pay on time...

You'd likely run into tracking problems though.

Besides, even a 200mm autocannon should be more than enough to convince any client to cough up the dough. That, or a smartbomb(several kilometer range might cause some collateral damage in a corporate office though).

Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (2, Funny)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790102)

That, or a smartbomb(several kilometer range might cause some collateral damage in a corporate office though).

You obviously have no idea how dense those management types can be.

Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (2, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791754)

I remember a back when I was looking into the Marines I talked a lot to their officer recruiters. I can't remember exactly how it was said but once they told me something kind of interesting. The gist of it was that they would rather sign on a kid who spent his youth playing computer games than the football captain, because physical strength atrophies so the captain is probably fat by now already and they can get you into shape anyway. Gaming, on the other hand, was a far better training for tactical planning, spatial awareness, cooperation, and equipment use. Driving a tank is much more like playing a video game than catching a ball.

Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (2, Informative)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 3 years ago | (#30798030)

Just a guess (being that this is Slashdot, it is a fairly educated guess) you spent high school playing computer games, NOT being the captain of the football team. (So did I, so I don't have any problem with it.)

But the point is...the recruiters are going to tell you ANYTHING to get you to join the military.

It's a sales job, and flattering you is part of the job. I wouldn't believe anything a recruiter says. In fact, if you had signed up, you'd know that the entire military jokes about it constantly. "What? Did you believe your recruiter?"

I'm not even disputing the information you are putting out, just pointing out that your source is notoriously bad.

Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (1)

sick197666 (974586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30792546)

I agree. I think they both will be beneficial. That, and who is to say that virtual/gaming athletes (ie - the ones that get paid for it) aren't as dedicated as "real" athletes? Or share the same qualities? I think sports helped me a great deal personally. Even tho I'm typically a super shy lady, I'm not afraid of raising my voice to get a point across to a whole room of men, much like when I played soccer. I was the stopper, and had to scream down the field to my teammates. Co-ed soccer has taught me how big of a man I can take down using my short stature and low center of gravity. Rugby taught me what to do if they're too big, hehe. I'm not afraid to be "pushed around" once I enter the male-predominant field because I know if the worst case happens, I can push back. Or out-smart them. Either or.

Dear God no. (5, Funny)

Senes (928228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789358)

I don't want work to be this endless soul crushing grind. I don't want my own experience to be considered worthless because the guy next door has the 4 str 4 stam belt. I don't want to be packed into a department of soulless adolescents who can't even talk normally. I don't want to push 90 hour weeks to hit my next milestone. I don't want my supervisor shrieking at me to get on vent for 21st century cutting edge micromanagement.

Re:Dear God no. (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789968)

Would be pretty nice to be able to disconnect from work and not be heard from for a week and then come back with everyone being ok with it, you know it happens ;)

Re:Dear God no. (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30792498)

I don't want work to be this endless soul crushing grind. I don't want my own experience to be considered worthless because the guy next door has the 4 str 4 stam belt. I don't want to be packed into a department of soulless adolescents who can't even talk normally. I don't want to push 90 hour weeks to hit my next milestone. I don't want my supervisor shrieking at me to get on vent for 21st century cutting edge micromanagement.

I take it you've decided not to work in IT then?

Re:Dear God no. (1)

docwatson223 (986360) | more than 3 years ago | (#30799234)

Obviously, you don't Raid. ;)

This is the same as the pro-fat revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30789360)

I cant speak for other countries, but there is a lot of crap on our cheesy news segments here in Australia (by that I mean the half hour after the actual 'whats going on in the world' news) about how women are 'bringing back the curves' and fighting the 'negative body image purported by the modern fashion industry' and then goes on to show obese women pretending to be models. It doesnt work because these women are unhealthy.

Whilst gaming being beneficial has more of a leg to stand on then being fat, there is no doubt that its a recreational activity.

gotta stop accepting things just because its too hard to make ween everyone off it.

Re:This is the same as the pro-fat revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30789462)

I agree. For example, I think vaginas are fucking revolting. They look like monster faces for fucks sake. They leak blood. BLOOD. And sometimes babies, little mini-people that come into this world screaming and shitting. It's both a biological oddity and quasi-mystical force of nature, and when I think of sticking my dick into one, I imagine it temporarily transitions into a multidimensional hell where up is black and down is white and people hear with their noses. And when my cock returns, it looks and feels and smells like my cock, but it is subtley transformed in some uncanny way, never to be the same again.

Re:This is the same as the pro-fat revolution (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790192)

Dang, where [slashdot.org] have I seen that before?

I guess it's a less revolting fantasy than others that have been picked up here.

Re:This is the same as the pro-fat revolution (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789686)

Some of that started when they got segment-by-segment ratings and found that fat sells. That's why they have at least one weight-loss story a week and often more. That and they've got 'stories' provided by people who also happen to advertise on the network.

There is a huge difference. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789364)

First a lot of these skills can be gathered by more productive methods.

Things like. Joining a school club, peing part of a play, even joinging a sports team, or helping with public service.

Secondly with gaming if it is not fun you don't play the game. Unlike work sure you may love your job but there are some days/weeks that are just so boring that if it was a game you would say screw this game it is way to dull. And get a more interesting one. World of Warcraft makes sure you rewards and the amount of what is going is own is fast. Real life there could be weeks/months/years/decades before your work pays off.

Hiring someone who puts their video game skills on their resume would make me very iffy about hiring him. Once he finds that real work isn't as fun or ballanced or fair as it is in a video game he would most likely quit. Or just struggle in work as real work often require a UI that is a bit more complex then games are.

Re:There is a huge difference. (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789478)

World of Warcraft makes sure you rewards and the amount of what is going is own is fast. Real life there could be weeks/months/years/decades before your work pays off.

And that is exactly the point of business simulations: quick reward for success, and mistakes quickly coming to bite you on the nose, so that you can immediately see what went well and what didn't work, then try again. Instant feedback. A well-run class on teamworking will give you more relevant experience on working in teams in 3 days than 1-2 years of actual team working might.

Re:There is a huge difference. (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790202)

Only if the class material is accurate.

WoW is not reality, and too much of the business simulation stuff is not reality either.

Re:There is a huge difference. (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791826)

And yet you classify a sports team as productive?
I'd much rather hire a guy who plays video games than plays football, yet society tends to fawn over sports heros when they are usually dumb as rocks and one trick ponies.

Re:There is a huge difference. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30809764)

The Foot ball player still needs to show up to every practice if he wants to or not, as well he still needs to keep his grades at a passing level. The fact that some schools give athletes free passes only really hurts them.

Re:There is a huge difference. (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789640)

Not to mention you can't just /kick or /ignore generally in work situations.

I was trying to figure out in my head just now why this never works and suddenly it hit me. If you work involved this type of thing, and you do this type of thing for fun, at home, most employeers eventually realise they can say

"If you do this for fun, why are we paying you so much?"

Virtual worlds, yes. Games, not so much. (3, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789434)

A year or so ago, I helped my client (a large corporation) look into using virtual worlds and MMOs as platforms for learning and collaboration. I also play MMOs, which helped. And I am familiar with the notion put forth by this professor; companies like IBM have already done some research into the subject. Anyway...

WoW and similar games can indeed hone or help assess leadership skills.... but only with people who already play Wow. For newbies, the time to learn play the game and train up to a level where there are meaningful leadership and teaming aspects (raids) is largely wasted. There are already better business simulations out there that are tailored to business situations. For instance: running a raid organisation is closer to leading a group of volunteers than to managing a corporate team. Different objectives, different leadership style. If you are looking for leadership and team working simulations that can be done virtually, I'd look for existing p&p business simulation games and port them to a platform like Second Life. The big advantage being that such a simulation hardly requires any training to work the simulation itself; after a short newbie obstacle course you can jump straight into the game itself.

Virtual platforms offer a range of possibilities for new ways of learning, especially experiential learning in areas like HSE, leadership, self assessment and team working, but sadly there still is very little training material in virtual environments out there. We're proceeding to roll our own. WoW is far too complex a game and far too removed from business relevant objectives to serve as an effective learning platform.

Putting WoW skillz on your resume? Too early, perhaps. But... if someone is leading a consistently successful raid team, I would readily assume that they have leadership skills worth looking into.

Re:Virtual worlds, yes. Games, not so much. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789696)

Or, if someone is a leader in a successful guild, that can be very noteworthy. If I found that on a resume, I'd be able to check out the organisation's structure and see just how good that person is. Even moreso than if that person had worked at an actual business as a leader.

Re:Virtual worlds, yes. Games, not so much. (2, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789730)

True, but you touch on an important practical point: you have to go in and check. I can't judge the quality of a raid leader from the fact that they have downed Mork the Farty 20 times in a row with no wipes; I'd have to hop on his raid and see how they actually perform. Perhaps the raid leader is rather poor in reality, and it's a group leader giving the orders, and a team member who cools off budding conflicts, with the raid leader being little more than responsible for the loots and invites (come to think of it, I know a few managers who manage little more than "loots and invites").

So, to qualify my earlier statement a little: I know from experience that the good raid leaders I have raided with posess strong leadership qualities. Even so, that might not necessarily translate to being good business leaders, but at least you know the potential is there in their personalities.

Re:Virtual worlds, yes. Games, not so much. (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790380)

Perhaps the raid leader is rather poor in reality, and it's a group leader giving the orders, and a team member who cools off budding conflicts, with the raid leader being little more than responsible for the loots and invites

So basically you have the same possibilities with in-game leaders as you have with business ones.

Re:Virtual worlds, yes. Games, not so much. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789744)

WoW and similar games can indeed hone or help assess leadership skills.... but only with people who already play Wow. For newbies, the time to learn play the game and train up to a level where there are meaningful leadership and teaming aspects (raids) is largely wasted.

So you're saying that leaders and managers need to learn how to do the job first? Where were you when we had consultants in?

Re:Virtual worlds, yes. Games, not so much. (1)

Ilkhan28 (1711948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30793338)

In the end it would have to come down to the company as to what criteria are desirable on a CV, such as expert raid leadership or guild crafting organization along with the other usual points that do relate to the position being offered. I agree that games in the fantasy field like "World of Warcraft" and "Age of Conan" might be too out there in terms relating to real world business activities and concerns. The concepts like leadership and organization though could apply, and these games do give someone a chance to practice these concepts, but those need then to be applied to real world situations, changes and society. Perhaps a game that mimics real world such as Second Life would be a better venue. All companies will be different, some may laugh at the idea, and refuse to implement it, while others may fully embrace it. As long as it does not harm productivity, then maybe it can work.

JinzouTamashii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30789442)

This is so true. I ended up putting down my professional experience on my resume, but it was my toying with WoW that really honed the ideas on a lot of my current projects!

Bad Advice (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789458)

Don't go putting your MMORPG experience on your resume. You will not get hired for one simple fact, people have figured out by now that WoW can cause addiction amongst its players. They are not going to hire you if they think all you're going to do at work is play your MMO.

Secondly, while MMO's can help someone gain leadership and organizational skills (I'd imagine EVE could even teach you some basic economical/business skills), they don't help with social skills. Having an avatar interact with other avatars is psychologically quite different from interacting with someone in front of you.

Re:Bad Advice (1)

Ricken (797341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789470)

Well then, I'll just put my CS (note: not computer science) skillz on my resume. Seeing as alot of it takes places at a LAN, the interaction isn't 100% ingame. Also, leading a successful cs-team is quite the feat, there's alot of teamwork going on there.

Re:Bad Advice (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789548)

Having an avatar interact with other avatars is psychologically quite different from interacting with someone in front of you.

Exactly, and that is why the Google guy has a point. In the future, especially in a globalised yet CO2-lean world, contact with others will increasingly be virtual. If that is what you'll have to deal with in the future, you will have to learn the necesary social skills for virtual meetings. Games are one place to pick up such skills... though I expect the advice to 15 years olds to play such games in order to pick up these new social skills is a but superfluous; kids of that age will most likely gain those skills as they go along, without having to think about them much.

Re:Bad Advice (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791312)

"If that is what you'll have to deal with in the future, you will have to learn the necesary social skills for virtual meetings."

Or you could use video conferencing. Oh wait, we already do that. Ain't "cutting edge".

Re:Bad Advice (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791566)

Try videoconferencing with 20 people dialling in from 6 locations with breakout sessions, or holding a "bazaar"-style seminar with walk-in sessions, or inviting people from outside the company. Videoconferencing doesn't cut it in those situations, but a virtual office might.

But, you are absolutely right in that one should not try to duplicate videoconferences or teleconferences using something like Second Life, there's no point. It does have its place though. And interestingly, the group dynamics in virtual meetings are very different from videoconferences or face-to-face meetings. Again, there are benefits to that in certain situations.

Re:Bad Advice (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789824)

Re:Bad Advice (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791856)

Apparantly you missed the huge disclaimer below that.

ATTENTION READERS: If you were linked here from another site, odds are they got the story wrong. Since columnists and bloggers on the internet can't read, we're going to put this in "simple" speak for any future people that want to write about this anecdotal forum post: 1. Tale was having a conversation with someone at lunch. 2. It was not a job interview, he has a job in online media. Though, apparently almost everyone who wrote about this story should not have a job in online media. 3. This was merely a brief comment in a conversation. 4. Tale is not in America. He is in Australia. 5. This is a single recruiter who said this, not some company or some massive employer, just one dude. Just ONE DUDE.

Re:Bad Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30792544)

Nope, sure didn't. Are you sure you managed to read anything but the disclaimer? My link title is copied directly from the topic title. Not a lot of chance to get the message wrong there, huh?

Re:Bad Advice (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30793704)

Its common practice to refer to urban myths by the claim made. Hence a discussion about a claim that a recruiter was told not to hire WoW players would be titled in reference to that claim even though the discussion proceeds to prove that claim inaccurate.

Re:Bad Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30803580)

read it again moron. nobody contradicts what he said. they were mad at the new york times for misrepresenting what was posted.

Should drinking & passing out join the workpla (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30789468)

Should sleeping instead of working join the workplace? Should watching porn at work join the workplace?

How long does it take to get good at online gaming? A good use of your time when you could be learning many various job related skills, eh? Are those skills, like in FPS games a good match for the workplace? Having really quick responses so you can kill your opponent are a clear win for cooperation with co-workers. GTA is a great tool for improving your interpersonal skills and business ethics. Maybe if your future plans include carjacking.

With a tag line like "If I were 15 years old, that's what I would be doing right now..." I know that this is profound analysis. Fifteen year-olds are a model of forward thinking and acute planning for the future. This is why the driving age is 16, and why the vehicle accident rates go down so much between 16 and 25.

Gosh, any chance the prof at Stanford is whoring for some internet fame? Could be he feels that he is becoming irrelevant so he wants to connect with the young people by endorsing what ever they seem to be doing? Just wondering...

Re:Should drinking & passing out join the work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30796918)

Should sleeping instead of working join the workplace? Should watching porn at work join the workplace?

Yes and yes!

I must admit though, I don't give a shit about 'improving my interpersonal skills and business ethics'. I just want a tug and a nap in the middle of the day.

One big difference (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789596)

In a MMORPG the rules are clear and you know what you can and cannot do. Follow the strategy and everything will come together, there are few surprises and the AI has no emotion, no ego. No raid boss will deny you victory because you stepped on its toes.

In the real world, that is not the case, you might have followed the right guide to grind your career to the next level and still never ping because the AI has decided that they shall promote the girl because she is prettier or the guy because he is not a girl. Or the minority because there ain't enough of them or the majority because everyone knows minorities can't cut it.

What I have noted is that younger people are very good at being assertive but not very good at being meek. They know how to succeed but not how to fail. And yet, when they finish school where many seem to believe they employ the teachers they are suddenly put in an environment where they are not the top, worse, the top positions are already taken and you will have to compete for them with people who got more experience.

If I would be hiring a new person fresh from school, then I would not be impressed with your raid leading capabilty. Now if you put on your CV that you are a good raid follower, that would matter a whole lot more. Anyone can shout orders, following them is a lot harder. Who needs the other more? Generals vs Soldiers? A simple head count will give you the answer. A new employer will not need another manager, another boss especially one who has not yet proven himself, but they will need people who can do the stuff that is required. And doing that stuff is often boring and unrewarding with you requiring years of grinding away at menial tasks to get anywhere, and there is no progress bar to follow.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that gaming experience can enhance abilities in the real world. If you can organize your guilds supply chain (who crafts what) then you might be a good organizer in the real world. But say that you are REALLY good in arranging that harvested materials make their way to the crafters, does that make you a good procurer in the real world? No...

Why? Because the game world is consistent, eternally the same. If you want more light hides, you just go out an get them and you can just grind them in a respawn rich area. There are no government quatas, no competition, no disease or enviromental factors. It is, simple. The real world is everything but simple. Some of you might mentions Star Wars Galaxies resource system which changed quality. True, but you could freely travel and harvest all over the universe. As shown by a recent story, in the real world a rare mineral simply might no longer become available in the real world (China restricting exports or rare earth minerals).

Gaming experience is no more the playing experience. Sure, if you played with blocks as a small child, you MIGHT one day become an architect BUT if you are going for your first job interview as an architect I wouldn't list "block building" on my CV. You might mention it during your background story, "why do you want to be an architect" "Well I always liked the idea of building something, even as a small child when I made bridges with blocks". But it is PLAYING experience, not real world.

Being a raid leader does NOT make you a leader, it just gives you some play experience at doing it. If you use it at just a light intro to the real thing, then you will do fine. But if you think it prepares you for the real thing or even is the same as the real thing, then you will fail horribly.

Re:One big difference (2, Interesting)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790054)

In the real world, that is not the case, you might have followed the right guide to grind your career to the next level and still never ping because the AI has decided that they shall promote the girl because she is prettier or the guy because he is not a girl. Or the minority because there ain't enough of them or the majority because everyone knows minorities can't cut it.

Are you kidding? All kinds of guilds "promote" players based on the things you describe. "Suzie's not as good as Bob." "Yeah, but she's the only girl we've got. We have to keep her." I don't think you realize how hard it is to get random people to work together to achieve a common goal. Your company may not need more leaders but the world certainly does. Imagine all the new jobs we would have if there were more people willing and able to create successful businesses. Imagine how much better our government would be if the heads of our political parties were focused on governing (leading) rather than on gaining 50% + 1 vote over the other party at the next election. Yes the world needs more (and higher quality) leaders.

Re:One big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30790150)

Follow the strategy and everything will come together, there are few surprises and the AI has no emotion, no ego. No raid boss will deny you victory because you stepped on its toes.

What. I'm a bit confused at your metaphor here.

From what I can tell, your basic metaphor is that "killing the raid boss" is equivalent to "completing the project". "Following the strat" would be equivalent to "following the manual." In both times, you reach the result of "raid boss killed!" or "Project complete!"

Your metaphor seems to be stating that stepping on the feet of the project(?) would cause it to suddenly not work. I really doubt that after creating, say a car, insulting its mother would cause it to fail on you. Just as insulting a raid boss's mother won't cause it to suddenly power up to 9001.

Perhaps you mean instead of "Completing the project," you mean "Completing the project and getting the satisfaction of the boss." For this, yeah. If you called his daughter a whore it'll end up badly and your project may fail. But you've added a modifier here. A similar modifier in WoW could be "Kill the raid boss and get loot X." In either situation, an outside modifier changes the requirements for victory. However, I suppose the warcraft example is something uncontrollable. But...the same can apply to real life as well if the boss comes in with a foul mood, looks at your completed project, calls it total shit and throws a chair at it.

Also, I argue against "there are few surprises" and "no emotion, no ego" for WoW. There are surprises in that one person's connection may be bad. Maybe one player has a grudge against another and purposely tries to kill them wiping the raid. Maybe once the loot does drop, person X starts whining and bitching that person Y beat him on it, declaring that since he's worked so hard on the project (killing the boss) he should deserve a larger share of the reward.

Being a raid leader does NOT make you a leader, it just gives you some play experience at doing it. If you use it at just a light intro to the real thing, then you will do fine. But if you think it prepares you for the real thing or even is the same as the real thing, then you will fail horribly.

I take issue with this. Do people somehow become mere caricatures once they enter the virtual world? Do they become cartoonish simpletons giving people working with them nothing but a ghoulish mirror of true humanity?

False. The building block analogy is fallacious precisely because of the point laid out above. A more accurate example may be if the architect had spent years messing around with architectural programs but hasn't actually built a real building. His blueprints are up to par, he's great at calculating the stresses and where to strengthen the walls, how to place the bars, where to rivet, so on. He may not have experience in reality, but his ability in the abstract is near equivalent.

I admit. Some skills gained in one arena do not necessarily translate to another. People playing online games will have difficulty hiding their emotions in reality, being used to no one seeing their face. They may be more slovenly or visibly odd since they haven't had to combine body language with their managerial skills. But that's something they'll learn in the future.

Perhaps if a world of warcraft manager managed strictly through cyberspace rather than at the office, perhaps with a "body on the ground" to be his eyes, ears, and face his or her managerial abilities would shine.

Re:One big difference (2, Interesting)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791964)

Well, I disagree that success in leading a guild/raid is only about the game.

I learned more about managing people and group dynamics in a couple years of raiding than in 20 years of working (mostly as a non-leader) and watching the process.

The learning happens when you take responsibility for leading a group, which means figuring out how to keep everyone happy and moving in the same direction.

This generally NOT a process that primarily plays out in a particular in-game event like a raid, though you do have to have the patience and situational awareness to keep everything going smoothly. Raid leader IS just a game skill really, along with some basic communication and coordination skills (being willing to know how to do everyone's job and teach it to them). Your forums can be a flaming wreckage of hate and recrimination, but once people show up in-game for an event, things always go amazingly smoothly.

Guild leadership on the other hand is all about managing the drama that comes between in-game events, as everyone has their own preferences in terms of how serious vs. casual the group should be, how loot should be handled, whether attendance should be required, how people should be recruited, how it's decided who gets to go to each raid, etc.

Again, from my experience almost no management is required in-game where you might expect. All of the hard problems show up as conflicts between different peoples desires, personalities, psychological issues, etc., and they play out on the guild's forums, email, in-game chat, etc., outside of actual raid events.

So what game it is, what the game rules are, etc. really has very little impact on things!

There are SO many opportunities for conflict and disagreement that a gaming guild produces a super-concentrated laboratory for the study of human behavior and interactions. If you study guild management strategies, you'll find miniature versions of every political structure invented by man, and you'll very quickly see all of their good and bad points displayed in a sort of Loony Tunes exaggerated cartoon version of political science.

As a leader you learn pretty quickly that while you might have signed up for the job with the idea that you'll like being in charge, you actually are the one whose opinion matters the least when it comes to keeping things working smoothly. If you had any illusion that other people think the way you do, or that things you think are completely obvious and straightforward decisions will be agreed to by everyone, those illusions will quickly be shattered.

I think the vast majority of serious raiding guilds (really any guild that requires the cooperation of a non-trivial group of people towards a common goal) eventually self-destruct as a result of all the internal pressures and related drama. Watching this process, and trying to prevent it, will teach you an incredible amount about how people and groups work.

For me, these experiences absolutely justified the time I spent playing WoW because of how much I learned about people (and myself).

G.

Re:One big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30794826)

I've played WoW and while what you say is true, the game FFXI has so much more to offer than WoW in terms of learning about leadership. The main reason is FFXI had many world spawns and our "instances" were more of an "instance" so having multiple guilds trying to enter the same raid at the same time couldn't be done. On my server we ended up having to using a forum where guild leaders from different guilds talked and hammered out schedules with each other, sometimes guilds with similar raid times and goals would have to have long discussions to divide the areas that could be done, every so often a rogue guild or group steals a zone leaving a guild helpless and trying to find a new area to run (canceling would be too big of a morale loss) that also doesn't step on anyone's toes. Here [qcdn.org] you can see the forum that was used to post schedules between guilds. This was just for one type of event

We also had world spawns where 5+ guilds would bring 18+ people each to try and claim one monster when it popped, which caused much conflict between guilds and the need for heavy diplomacy. WoW with its instances had all the same mechanics as FFXI in running a guild save for the diplomacy part, in WoW there's little reason to communicate with other guilds aside from talking strategy or possible team up situations, in ffxi you had to communicate to handle disputes. If weak guild claimed a monster and it looked like they were going to wipe, the remaining guilds had to decide who gets the next shot (free for all, or /random, or some other deal depending on server). Inter-guild politics was a lot of fun for me in that game, and a huge aspect that was missing in internal affairs/drama.

Slashdot would be ashamed at some of the free-speech limiting tactics used but when guild drama occurred it is common for leaders to declare no members can speak in public about the situation to have full control of the information available, with one member posting using carefully worded and vetted statements as to not cause embarrassment. Alliances between guilds were common in order to better stand a chance against a stronger guild in some of the camps (thought much less so now that most guilds are strong enough on their own) increasing the odds of a claim or actually being able to down a monster. Once my guild had a deal with a Japanese guild to team up if we any of us got a monster at an odd hour where our members where sleeping/working/at school and due to timezone reasons the other side had an advantage, and for big drops since each guild had vastly different rules, we'd both pick one person from our side to actually roll on an item (so if our rules said two people could roll, we'd have them /random and the winner of that would make the actual roll against the other guild's chosen player)

The best was communicating with Japaneses guilds, using shitty translations to hammer out deals and compromises was a unique experience (though I doubt it's applicable in the real world as any organization that deals with foreign entities should have professional translaters available) And taught a lot about doing business with culturally different people.

MMO teamwork is not the same as work teamwork (0)

PeteV (1704822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789620)

I doubt that there are many people out there my age (50s) who have actually managed a WoW raid guild and worked in senior IT management (IT Director), I have DONT imagine that the skills that one acquires to manage a raid guild (or any other guild type for that matter) are necessarily of any relevance to the sort of teamwork needed in the office. If Google's CEO has actually had the experience of trying to mediate half a dozen petulant teenagers whining about this that and the other in the middle of a guild meeting or a raid, I would be surprised. Its a myth frankly and I certainly wouldnt bump someone up my list of possible hires on the basis that they had been a WoW guild leader - the real world IS NOT the same as any virtual or gaming world - you cannot see, touch , smell or interact with people in the same way - so the types of behavioural patterns that evolve in virtual worlds do NOT prepare people to manage real world human complex interactions - whereas If on the other hand you had done "real world" team work activities, outward bound courses for example , I would bump you up my list. The comparisons dont stack up - who do you want in charge of an engineering team ? someone who has managed groups of real people in testing circumstances or someone who has managed a bunch of pixels controlled by people who have learnt that they can get away with poor behaviour because they cannot be held to account in the same way ? My reasoning is quite simple and based on close to 4 years experience of playing WoW with (and I didnt start playiing until I was 45 and part of my reason was to actually explore this myth ) - most people ( note the use of "most" ) in WoW do not develop a balanced sense of responsibility towards others - (yes of course in elite hardworking raid guilds they do - but those environments are just that, elitist and they are non representative and usually arbitratrily disciplinarian and unforgivingly competitive and not real world useful either ) - a very large % of WoW players simply walk away from their responsbilities - they can behave in ways that are wholly unacceptable in an office environment and get away with it -you cant do that in the real world - you cant walk away in the same way - nor should you. If the teams flat out working to a deadline and everyone is dependent upon each other doing their job you dont want people in that team who imagine they can "log off" simply because the going has got tough. No - I personally doubt the people who say these things have actually taken the time to fully try out WoW to any great extent - of course there are exceptions and there are people who do learn mediation skills from team activities in these worlds - but give me someone who has captained a football team or a rugby team or set up and managed a club activity - someone who had dealt with "real" .. anyday

Eheh (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789834)

So you say that leading a guild is worth nothing, but being captain of a football team is... because everyone in IT is apparently a jock and responds the same as a football team?

Both of these activities are NOT the same as leading a business team, because the first two are VOLUNTEER teams.

I see three different forms of leadership experience can have.

The volunteer team, this is most often experienced in peoples youths and includes in my opinion school project experience and game/sport leadership. You lead people who more or less agree to be lead but can walk out at any moment. On the other hand, you can also get rid of people more easily.

The army team, in the army if you lead a team, then you are in charge, no question about it. It is very different (I was the rank of sergeant when drafted ages ago) to the first, you don't get to pick the members of your team, not the person giving you orders. More or less, everyone accepts the situation as it is and simply does as ordered and as such, the leading process is very simple. You really don't have to worry about the ego of your corporal and a private... are they even sentient? Who cares?

In business, what you would call the real world, because apparently the other two experiences ain't real in your eyes (which says a lot about you) leadership is a mix of the two. Your boss is your boss but you can always switch jobs and discipline is far less rigid. As a leader, you got to think of the feelings of the people you are trying to lead or you will soon find them seeking to be in a different group, they are not as free as volunteers but they haven't sworn an oath to you.

Experience in either the army method or the volunteer method can prepare you for the complexities of leading people who have different motivations and loyalties, but it is not the same.

So I think game leadership experience CAN be succesful. You say most WoW players have no sense of responsibility. Could be true (although this might more accurately reflect the people you played with and therefore reflect on you). But even if you take your opinion as fact, then how is leading a raid of selfish teenagers different from managing the same teenagers in the real world? Or do you think good leaders only get to lead highly motivated followers?

In some ways, I would be more impressed with someone who manages to lead massive PUG raids succesfully, then an officer who leads an army. What is harder? Herding cats or marching an army band? In IT, where you got to deal with people who have taken individualism to a new level, experience with leading the socially inept is an advantage. You say your WoW guild has no responsibilty but at the same time label those that do as elitist. Hard man to please ain't you?

In the real world, the hardest thing about leadership is NOT leading but getting people to follow in the first place. Anyone can shout orders, but getting people willing to listen to those orders is the real trick.

Getting 23 complete strangers, who don't know each other, don't speak the same language, got their own goals to function together for even a few hours, now that requires people skills. And the lack of direct interaction makes it only HARDER, not easier. People feel free to be real assholes online, something they would never dare to be face to face.

You seem to think good leadership comes from leading people who are easy to lead. I think a good leader is shaped by being able to manage people who are downright hostile to your leadership. The more opposition you face and still manage to make a success, the better you are.

Re:Eheh (1)

PeteV (1704822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790152)

I would disagree with a lot of your comments, many of which seem to be assumptions - but you also demonstrate a key problem of virtual worlds vs real worlds - assumptions. "So you say that leading a guild is worth nothing, but being captain of a football team is", no, what I implied was that that I give more credence to real world leadership skills than virtual world leadership skills "Both of these activities are NOT the same as leading a business team, because the first two are VOLUNTEER team" - I agree with you "On the other hand, you can also get rid of people more easily" does it ? I dont think so, but thats your view and my view, we can agree to differ Army i couldnt comment on business "because apparently the other two experiences ain't real in your eyes" - where did I say that ? I didnt .. what I point out is that the behavioural patterns are different - and it is because of this that I disagree with the general thrust of the original post - I dont think that the experience of WoW or MMO leadership is of more value than real world leadership, what I said was that I dont "bump" up people (if they put it in their CV). Is game leadership of value ? yes - but i didnt address how "Or do you think good leaders only get to lead highly motivated followers?" no , on the contrary, motivating difficult and hard people is far more rewarding and I try very hard to understand the engineers who work for me and I care a lot about them. "You say your WoW guild has no responsibilty but at the same time label those that do as elitist. Hard man to please ain't you? " - no I didnt say that, and what I said was the elitist raid guilds are highly disciplined and dont fall into the same category as a casual raiding guild - "In the real world, the hardest thing about leadership is NOT leading but getting people to follow in the first place." could not agree with you more - which is why my measure of whether I get it right or not is that a very large % of engineers who have worked for me have chosen to work for me on more than 1 occasion - giving orders means nothing, leadership is about taking a profound responsibility. "In some ways, I would be more impressed with someone who manages to lead massive PUG raids succesfully, then an officer who leads an army" - your view, and an informed one , not having been in the army I could not validly comment "You seem to think good leadership comes from leading people who are easy to lead" - no, nor do I understand why you would think that to be the case, I dont think I implied that at all, I think that is an unfair assumption you are making Yes managing teenagers in a guild is damn hard work - I didnt and dont underestimate it - but whether that means it is appropriately useful as a leadership "tool" or experience is open to discussion. Returning to assumption - the biggest differentiator between VR and RW leadership is that it is very very easy in VR to make assumptions and base ones decisions upon those assumptions - a persona may adopt a very specific persona in VR and you will respond accordingly - you have made a lot of assumptions about me, based on the text I posted only and responded accordingly - the assumptions that you would make about me in the RW are and would be different, and if ones leadership experience is based upon VR experience and viewed through the filter of that and is not balanced by real world experience, then in my opinion that is a weakness - hence when I am interviewing someone I will not attach any plus (or minus) to the fact that they have managed a WoW guild - I might well attach a plus to their organisational skills because of it - but those are not the same thing

I've Seen This Work (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789722)

At the first company I worked for, the entire department I worked with would shut the doors and get a massive game of Quake going every Friday. It was a great chance for team building. It was also a great level setter - the manager wasn't always the best shot, you know. I agree that this can be a really productive thing if it's done right.

No distinction between work and play. (2, Funny)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789850)

As virtual environments evolve and the workplace is eventually made completely virtual to eliminate transportation, the distinction between work and play will fade. People will be enjoying their jobs more, and they will be rewarded more for their efforts, as new technology (for example, the ability to manufacture super computers or robots for pennies) will provide greater wealth for everyone in society.

Re:No distinction between work and play. (1)

Haljo Gemel (934976) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789894)

there will alway be a distinction, you get paid to work. play you do for free.

Re:No distinction between work and play. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30790042)

Hey. What if we don't get paid but have limitless resources where anyone can do whatever they want?

What if, somehow, people began to feel that the things we consider work, cooking, cleaning, math, science, entertaining, so on, is something they enjoy and do for play? Jimmy loves to cook, so he cooks for Jackie and Larry. Larry loves to clean so he cleans around the house while eating Jimmy's food. Jackie decides he's going to go and level up Jimmy and Larry's game characters up 50 squintillion levels as thanks. Larry and Jimmy are happy! So is Jackie!

Sure our socioeconomic world at this moment can't really get that happening, but what if? What if something one person enjoyed is something others don't enjoy as much.

Now, you might ask, if Larry and Jimmy hate the damned game,why play it? What if they only hate leveling while Jackie is freaking AWESOME at it? Well then, that's good! It's like some idyllic barter system here where everyone produces what they enjoy producing and trades for whatever they need.

One question about that unlimited resources thing (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790262)

Corn, perhaps, can be grown by machine.

Who's going to wrastle the beef?

And who's going to sweat over the grill?

Re:One question about that unlimited resources thi (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791744)

Super efficient tiny cheap robots.

Re:No distinction between work and play. (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791284)

Isn't what you propose just capitalism (and in particular the specialization that comes with it), minus money? Without money, every time you want a transaction that isn't a simple trade you have a nontrivial coordination problem.

For instance, suppose three people A, B, and C, and three goods/services a, b, and c. Player A can provide a, B can provide b, etc. And suppose,

A wants b

B wants c

C wants a

In order for each person to get what they want, they all need to know each other's preferences and be able to coordinate a three-way trade.

Money neatly avoids these problems.

Re:No distinction between work and play. (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791766)

If our society becomes saturated with wealth, no real 'trade' will take place. They are all providing their services in trade for the collective wealth of the society. It sounds like communism, but if we avoid an apocalypse in the next 20 years we will have enough wealth for this system to make sense.

He clearly means after hours games (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789898)

Getting the whole of an office to play games after hours, adding mindless repeativitive (but enjoyable) gaming, on top of mindless repeative work. Offers managers the chance of reducing independent thought, having employees in the office for longer, and giving them a escapism in place of any more expensive bonuses (like pay rises), sounds like a management win to me.

---

MUD (& MMOD) Games [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:He clearly means after hours games (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30790264)

I'd personally prefer to get my employees home to their families.

Re:He clearly means after hours games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30790974)

That's probably because you *have* a family. Some of us aren't so lucky, asshole.

They really do teach a lot. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791446)

you will find people who would slack the hell out in real life doing unbelievable amounts of administrative work for their gaming guild in online games. they do the stuff they wouldnt do if you paid them a fortune.

"Management by Dual Neutron Disruptor spells doom (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30791484)

(or was that Doom?) for underperformers in Corporate First-Person MUD"

Seen through the crystal ball: headline from an HR management magazine, 2013 A.D. approx.

Firing by capital punishment: "The mind makes it real" for Matrix implantees

Similar publication by 2017 ;-/

Not quite yet (2, Insightful)

Ed Peepers (1051144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30792194)

I've been researching leadership and teams in MMOs for the past few years as part of my grad program in organizational psychology. In particular, I've studied players of EVE Online and looked at leadership behavior among guild/corp leaders as well as their followers. I'm still crunching the latest longitudinal data, but the early results point to average levels of transactional leadership behavior (a more managerial style; exchange based; you do X, I'll reward/punish you with Y) but strikingly low frequency of transformational leadership behavior (charismatic, visionary, empowering leadership; generally considered the "best" style of leadership).

Jargon aside, EVE players do not appear to be learning how to be better leaders by playing EVE Online. MMOs might help build follower skills (complete this quest/work assignment and I'll give you a gold piece/paycheck!) and make you a better wage slave, but I haven't seen empirical evidence that MMOs are teaching anyone how to be a leader in the workplace, as claimed by TFA. There are anecdotal stories from a few guild leaders, sure, but for now only guild leaders of large guilds should even consider putting MMO experience on their resume.

Finally, MMOs aren't going to teach /. readers about technology in the workplace. I am sorry if I crush anyone's dreams.

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